The Hambledon era

Hambledon Cricket grounds

1750s: Formed as a private club by noblemen and country gentry, Hambledon parish club grew in prominence and Hambledon Cricket Club was founded in the 1760s. The actual players were hired professionals from Odiham, Alresford, Farnham, Alton and Sussex - teams generally played for five hundred guineas a side (plus travel expenses) - a fortune at the time. Bets taken at the grounds added to the high financial stakes at play.

Hambledon remained the focal point of the game for about thirty years between the 1770s and the 1790s. Between 1772 and 1796 the club met ‘All England’ in 66 matches and won 38 of them.

In its heyday, Hambledon Cricket Club was run by Richard Nyren, landlord of The Bat & Ball Inn (see map). By 1771 Nyren moved to The George Hotel where the club held its meetings. Hambledon remained the pre-eminent club until the formation of Marylebone Cricket Club and the opening of Lord’s Cricket Ground in 1787. Although not the first great cricket club in England the Hambledon is the earliest of which we have substantial knowledge, thanks to the recollections of John Nyren (pictured), Richard’s son, entitled The Cricketers of My Time.

1782: Early matches were played on Broadhalfpenny Down. By 1782 the site of play had moved to Windmill Down, then the site shifted again between 1808 and 1875 when Ridge Meadow (a level field between Broadhalfpenny Down and Windmill Down) came into use. The club still plays here today.

Rules and regulations

'Click here to find out how the rules and regulations developed during the period that Hambledon dominated English cricket.'

Click here to find out where you can join, watch or even play cricket. These are all local clubs in and around Hampshire.

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